Android to Librem 5 transition

I’m shopping for a new phone, and absolutely love what the Librem 5 is all about. However, I feel like I am very locked into the Android ecosystem… from contacts and other integrations, to my employer (Red Hat) using GSuite, having a “work profile”, to the various apps I rely on day to day.

As much as I would love to kick Android for PureOS, I find it hard to be a feasible transition.

How have others handled this? Is there an Android image I could use with the Librem 5 hardware (though I realize that it defeats some of the purpose…)? It also feels like a large jump to make, buying the hardware not knowing if PureOS would suit my needs like I would need it to.

It is going to be a while before PureOS on mobile can truly replace Android functionality. This is no small task that Purism is taking on. It has taken the major players decades and millions of iterations to reach the point they are at now.

For now until some later date, your question is going to be met with another question as an answer:

How much are you willing to do without and still be happy? This is a question most long time Linux user are very used to.

I think many people are going to get their L5 and see just how much they’ve taken for granted.

All that said, I fully believe in what Purism is doing, and am supporting them where I can. It might sound like I’m bashing Purism, but I assure you I’m not. Just look at the industry. I mean Android has taken a long time to get the point where it saw massive adoption.

Chrome OS is linux pre-installed, and it is by all accounts a failure that just wont go away.

So you have two paths, do it completely from scratch, which is what Purism have done.


You use Android and the wheels that have been painstakingly crafted for it, and you build your hardware platform on that. This is the way to do it, if you want to have a phone that would be pretty functional out of the gate, and could still have the kill switches, separate components, etc.

You loose a terminal and access to a plethora of desktop linux apps. You also loose a compelling reason for people to look at your phone and think maybe you’ll be the one that changes things.

So Purism intentionally took the rocky straight up mountain path. Because of this they are having to reinvent a lot of the wheel and do some heavy lifting no one in the Linux world has done before.

L5’s potential is pretty limitless, especially if what Purism is attempting to do is successful.


In case you don’t know, it is possible to install the Librem 5 software on a virtual machine. I think a good place to start if that interests you is this page of the documentation: You could then experiment with things to see what works for you and what does not.

I have a Librem 5 currently but have not completely shifted to using it as my daily driver. From what I have experienced, I expect it will be a pretty significant hurdle to move everything from android to the Librem 5 and get everything configured and working again. And there will certainly be things that are less usable/not available on the Librem 5. But, as a somewhat competent Linux user, I also see Linux being a much more flexible and powerful platform going forward to say nothing of the potential privacy and security benefits.

Also, as so much of the Librem 5 is open source, it may be that in the future someone will manage to get Android or an Android based OS ported to it. As you mentioned, that does defeat some of the purpose but I am sure you are not the only one to want something like that. There are also some android emulators for Linux that I have heard about so that may also be something worth following.

PS. I’ve got to say, I am quite surprised that Red Hat uses G-Suite. I never would have guessed that.

They probably started using it when don’t be evil actually meant something at google.

I imagine like most enterprise software all of the invasions of privacy are removed. I mean if you could be 100% that google software and services respected your privacy, they’d be seriously fantastic.


Not to mention millions of dollars.

A related question would be: how long before the community produces the solution for an open platform?

If lots of people want the same thing that they are missing from Android then it is likely that it will get done. The real exposure is where you are using something niche that only you and one other person on the planet is interested in. In that case you either do without it or you do it yourself.

like this ?

You can add Google as an account in Gnome and have access to all your stuff including contacts. Here’s a screenshot of the online accounts app on Librem 5 running in an emulator:

Here’s the contacts app:

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